Accenture plc (ACN) is set to report third quarter 2013 results on Jun 27, after market closes. Last quarter, it posted a 3.09% positive surprise with a trailing four-quarter average positive surprise of 3.02%. Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.
Growth Factors this Past Quarter
Accenture’s second-quarter revenue growth was mostly driven by higher Outsourcing revenues, partially offset by slowing Consulting revenues. The Health & Public Services segment, the Financial Services segment and the Product segment outperformed, while the Communications, Media & Technology and Resources segments lagged.
Gross margin improved due to contract profitability (mainly in Outsourcing), higher utilization rate and lower attrition rate.
Due to continuing softness in its Consulting business (mainly because of lower corporate spending), Accenture expects net revenue growth on the lower side of the previously expected range of 5.0% to 8.0%.
Our proven model does not conclusively show that Accenture will beat earnings estimates this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) and a Zacks Rank #1, #2 or #3 for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.
Negative Zacks ESP: That is because the Most Accurate Estimate stands at $1.11 while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is at $1.13. That is a difference of -1.77%
Zacks Rank #2 (Buy): Accenture has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). However, this when combined with a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult. We caution against stocks with Zacks Ranks #4 and #5 (Sell rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.
Other Stocks to Consider
Investors could consider other stocks that have a positive ESP:
Rambus Inc. (RMBS), with Earnings ESP of +9.09% and Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)
Micron Technology Inc. (MU), with Earnings ESP of +20.0% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)
Actuate Corp. (BIRT), with Earnings ESP of +16.67% and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)
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